Welcome to our weekly DC Wrap, where we write about Wisconsin’s congressional delegation. Sign up here to receive the newsletter directly.
Quotes of the week
Thank you @GovEvers for doing the right thing and ensuring that our National Guard members won’t be used as props for the President’s outrageous political schemes on the southern border.
– U.S. Rep. Mark Pocan, D-Town of Vermont, applauding Gov. Tony Evers’ executive order this week to “promptly” remove the state’s National Guard troops from Arizona. Members have been serving in Arizona since the end of June, following President Trump’s call for the National Guard to help secure the border.
Securing our borders is a top priority of our nation, and I’m proud of Wisconsin’s National Guard for playing a valued role. It’s unfortunate Governor Evers doesn’t agree, and has decided to withdraw them from their important mission.
– U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Oshkosh, in a statement.
This week’s news
— U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin says she’ll back legislation to overturn President Trump’s declaration of a national emergency as he attempts to go around Congress to fund a wall along the southern border.
Meanwhile, U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson is mum on the effort, which cleared the House this week with the support of all of Wisconsin’s Dems and two Republicans: U.S. Reps. Mike Gallagher and Jim Sensenbrenner.
The pair were two of just 13 Republicans who supported the resolution, while GOP U.S. Reps. Sean Duffy, of Wausau; Glenn Grothman, of Glenbeulah; and Bryan Steil, of Janesville, opted to oppose the bill on Tuesday.
Sensenbrenner, the longest serving member of the delegation, said he supports efforts to build a physical barrier along the southern border and criticized Dems for refusing to provide the necessary funds.
“More funding is required,” the Menomonee Falls Republican said. “However, where that money comes from matters for the integrity of government.”
In the Senate, where the effort heads next, Baldwin, D-Madison, in a tweet called for the chamber to block “Trump’s unlawful power grab to take money from our military and make American taxpayers fund an ineffective wall that he promised Mexico would pay for.”
But Johnson’s office didn’t say whether the Oshkosh Republican would support or oppose the effort.
— Johnson and Baldwin split this week over a bill aiming to boost protections for infants that survivewho survive an abortion attempt.
The GOP-backed bill, which Johnson supported, failed to clear the needed 60-vote threshold in a Senate procedural vote Monday night, 53-44.
Baldwin joined most Dems in opposing the measure.
The legislation would require that infants who are born following a failed abortion receive care. And it would punish doctors who don’t provide properly attend to the infants, per national media reports. A similar bill passed the House last session but wasn’t taken up by the full Senate.
— Baldwin is bringing back a bipartisan bill looking to guarantee health care coverage for infants born with birth defects or congenital abnormalities.
The legislation, called the “Ensuring Lasting Smiles Act,” would require health insurance plans cover any medically necessary services stemming from birth defects or congenital abnormalities, excluding cosmetic surgeries.
Baldwin in a statement said she was inspired to work on the bill after hearing about 14-year-old Aidan Abbott, from Slinger, who was born with a rare congenital disease but denied coverage for his dental work despite having insurance.
“Aidan’s story continues to inspire my work on this issue to guarantee that individuals born with congenital anomalies have access to the comprehensive health treatments and coverage they need,” she said.
— Baldwin and other senators wrote a letter to the Federal Trade Commission this week demanding answers on their enforcement of “Made in the USA” labeling standards.
The letter is a follow-up to one the senators wrote to the FTC in October due to companies labeling foreign products as “Made in the USA” without facing any monetary penalties or admitting fault.
In their follow-up letter, the senators request that the FTC increase its transparency and enforce the law in order to protect American manufacturers and consumers.
They also requested further information on the FTC’s enforcement actions against companies that commit labeling violations.
The letter was also signed by U.S. Sens. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, and Chris Murphy, D-Conn.
Read the full letter here.
— Wisconsin’s House members split along party lines over a gun control bill that cleared the chamber Wednesday 240-190.
The bill, which looks looks to expand the federal background check system for all gun purchases and many transfers,. It is one of two firearm-related pieces of legislation the House is likely to consider this week, per national media reports. The other bill, which will likely hit the floor today, would lengthen the timeline for completing a background check.
On the first bill, Dem U.S. Reps. Mark Pocan, Gwen Moore and Ron Kind all voted in favor of the legislation, while GOP U.S. Reps. Bryan Steil, Glenn Grothman, Jim Sensenbrenner, Sean Duffy and Mike Gallagher opposed it.
— U.S. Reps. Ron Kind and Mike Gallagher are teaming up on a bill to expand residency training opportunities across the state.
The legislation, called the “Advancing Medical Resident Training in Community Hospitals Act,” also has the backing of the six other Wisconsin House members. The bill would tweak a Medicare rule to free up more funding through for hospitals with new residency training structures under the Graduate Medical Education program.
Kind, D-La Crosse, and Gallagher, R-Green Bay, touted their bill in a statement this week as a means to recruit and retain more doctors in rural parts of the state.
“I am proud to introduce this bipartisan bill, which will help provide more opportunity for medical residencies here in our state, and ensure our rural communities have the medical professionals they need to stay healthy and strong,” Kind said.
— Gallagher has introduced a bipartisan bill aiming to increase transparency surrounding health care pricing.
The so-called “Transparency in All Health Care Pricing Act of 2019” would require medical providers to disclose costs for all of their products, services and procedures.
Gallagher said in a statement the bill would result in increased competition, which in turn would lower health care costs across the board.
“The rising cost of healthcare is one of the issues I hear about most from families across Northeast Wisconsin,” he said. “This is why I am proud to introduce bipartisan legislation with Rep. Perlmutter that would require healthcare providers to tell you exactly how much their procedures, products, and services cost.”
Gallagher joined U.S. Rep. Ed Perlmutter, D-Colo., in introducing the bill.